Feel like your writing is getting a bit stale? Writing in a new font is a sure way to freshen up your writing and get those creative juices flowing. A font itself can be a story – mysterious and simple, tall and elegant, hastily scrawled,distant and inhuman. Any reader who sees your font will get a sense of your tale even before they read a word.
If you have a story you want to tell and are having some trouble, go font-shopping! Find the font that tells your story for you and enjoy typing out the words with your newfound paintbrush. Or maybe you’ve no story in mind, and the font itself will inspire a new beginning. Typing with a fresh font is downright fun.
There are multiple places to find free fonts online, but the best I’ve found has to be Google Fonts. Go enjoy the elegant interface, pick up a few new brushes, and get typing!
Put your pen to the paper, right now, and think up a story. Use your imagination. Shouldn’t this be easy for a storyteller like you?
Maybe, but only if you know how to go about it. There’s a common misconception that storytellers invent their stories, when in reality we are only translators. We take in and observe the details of life—the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, memories, reactions, expressions, and connections—and write from experience. Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves are nearly unrecognizable compared with our own experience, but deep down, in thought or in theme, even our fiction comes from the heart.
Stories are harvested more than created, like a fruit salad. The ingredients may come from many different places, but they’re certainly not conjured up out of nothing. If you find yourself unable to “think up” a story (or unable to bring a fruit salad into existence by sheer willpower), that doesn’t mean you’re out of creativity! It means you need ingredients for your salad. Focus on what you have: memory. And write what’s important to you.
For more ideas about writing from your experience, check out this great little article by Richard on CreateSpace. But before you go, take a minute and put yourself back into a memory. Harvest the details, and write!
Your title is important. It’s the first words a potential reader sees, and your first chance to draw them into your story. How does a writer go about finding the right title for their story?
Titles Don’t Come First!
In my experience, writing a story for a title just doesn’t turn out well. It’s too constraining. Usually a title is made for a story, not the other way around. I’ve written multiple stories now that remain title-less even after the plot is full fledged, and are just waiting for some title TLC.
Titles Take Thought
Sometimes they come easy, but with longer novel-length stories, often they don’t. It helps to really know what your story is about. (If you’re like me and prefer to write off-the-cuff, sometimes you don’t know what your story is about. Someone once asked what the NaNoWriMo novel I’d written was about, and I said, “I don’t know, I haven’t read it!”) Titles take thought, study, critique, and revision. When something catches, you’ll know it.
Reflect the essence of your story
Have meaning for the reader before they read your story. If your book is fantasy, you may be tempted to write fantasy words into the title, but my advice is to keep this to a minimum. The title should communicate something about your story to potential readers who have no knowledge of your story whatsoever, thus enticing them to pick your book off the shelf.
NOT give away too much. They’re just a glance at the worm on the hook. The first paragraph should get the bite, and the first chapter reel them in.
What are your tricks for titles? Writers don’t get much chance to practice these. A great way to learn is to pay attention to your favorite stories, study the titles, and see what works for your tastes.
I’ve long been a proponent of cranking out words and upping your word count. That’s what writers do, right? Keep writing, and you’re bound to come up with something good among all those keystrokes.
This approach definitely works sometimes and for some writers, but there are other approaches too, and these can be refreshing. I was talking with a writer friend recently who reminded me that some writers have a limited number of stories inside them. Indeed, many authors like Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird fame only published one book, and found success.
It was a relief to me to consider the idea that a writer has a limited number of stories to tell. After my first NaNoWriMo success, I’ve been disappointed with my other attempts partly because I see myself telling the same story all over again. But perhaps this isn’t a bad thing. Maybe it’s good. Maybe it’s because that one story is my story. Maybe it’s my only story. And that’s all right.
Lesson of the day: don’t force it. Sometimes, forcing a story or word count is helpful, but in the end, writing has to feel natural to read natural. You don’t need to write a billion words to be a successful writer, unless that’s your thing. Only one story told well, in a way that pleases you, is enough.
There wasn’t anything special about it in particular. It was like many others of its kind, having a cylindrical shape with an accordion bend about four fifths of the way up its torso. This straw had green stripes longways down its pearly white sides. (Many of its kin had red.)
Yup. This was the last straw. I saw it only briefly, in somebody else’s fingers, surely destined for a long and illustrious career carrying liquid contents from cup to pleased consumer.